Thursday, April 29, 2010

Help yourself: You're a Horrible Person, but I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice

A book of advice you should never follow

A spin-off of the Believer magazine, this a book of comical advice from some of the hippest comedians around, including Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), David Cross (Arrested Development, Mr. Show), Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter (The State and Stella), Jim Gaffigan (Beyond the Pale), Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development), Patton Oswalt (Werewolves and Lollipops, Ratatouille), Amy Sedaris (who is the namesake for the original Believer advice column Sedaratives) and more.

For those unfamiliar with the Believer, it's a hip literature magazine popular primarily among arty, literate 20s and 30s somethings. It has a wry sense of humor and features articles with titles like "What You Can't Learn Collecting Esoteric Books" (Feb. 2010) or "The Undead Travel" (Jan. 2010).  If any of this sounds awesome, this book will probably appeal to you.  Fans of alternative comedy will enjoy this book too.

Written in question/ answer format, each comedian gives advice to several (most likely made-up) questions from (probably fictional) readers.  As books written by several different authors go, the hilarity and quality of the answers varies among the comedians.  My favorites include Rob Coddry, Jim Gaffigan, Samantha Bee, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris, and most of all, Ed Helms.  This is a funny book to browse through and a relatively quick read.  I read the entire book, but the format is useful for readers to read and skip as they choose.  Fans of the magazines or the comedians will not be surprised to learn that there is some naughty language and off-kilter suggestions. While it can be less than brilliant in parts, the truly best entries make the book worth checking out.

Find it in the catalog.

Sample Question from the book after the jump:

Answered by Jim Gaffigan (p.72).

Dear Jim: 
I was in Oklahoma a few months ago and I ordered the "vegetable of the day" for lunch.  They brought me a dumpling with a side of macaroni and cheese.  I was previously unaware that either of these items was in the vegetable family.  What else classifies as a vegetable in Oklahoma?  

Eugene, OR

Dear Ashley:
How is the weather up there on your high horse?  As far as I know restaurant menus in Oklahoma are not determined by the state government.  I'm pretty sure they never were.  I suppose the notion of the "vegetable of the day" in Oklahoma is pretty funny.  Ha, ha, ha.  Kind of like a good hamburger in India or a non-snobby Ashely in Oregon.